Coronavirus: Bars, entertainment outlets serve last customers before closing until April 30

(Above) Customers in Haji Lane at 10.10pm yesterday, before the 11.59pm deadline for bars and other entertainment venues, including nightclubs and karaoke outlets, to close until April 30. (Below) The atrium at Takashimaya Square in Ngee Ann City yes
(Above) Customers in Haji Lane at 10.10pm yesterday, before the 11.59pm deadline for bars and other entertainment venues, including nightclubs and karaoke outlets, to close until April 30. ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ONG WEE JIN
A staff (from India, New Delhi) of Piedra Negra (a bar and restaurant) pondering his future outside the bar at 11.34pm along Haji Lane, as they began to close from 11.30pm, ahead of the stipulated 11.59pm, on March 26, 2020.
A staff (from India, New Delhi) of Piedra Negra (a bar and restaurant) pondering his future outside the bar at 11.34pm along Haji Lane, as they began to close from 11.30pm, ahead of the stipulated 11.59pm, on March 26, 2020.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Chairs are neatly stacked up outside Highlander at Clark Quay on March 27, 2020.
Chairs are neatly stacked up outside Highlander at Clark Quay on March 27, 2020.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Haji Lane at 11.51pm on March 26, 2020.
Haji Lane at 11.51pm on March 26, 2020.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Staff at Skinny’s Lounge started cleaning up and getting ready to shut down at about 1130pm on March 26, 2020.
Staff at Skinny’s Lounge started cleaning up and getting ready to shut down at about 1130pm on March 26, 2020.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
(Above) Customers in Haji Lane at 10.10pm yesterday, before the 11.59pm deadline for bars and other entertainment venues, including nightclubs and karaoke outlets, to close until April 30. (Below) The atrium at Takashimaya Square in Ngee Ann City yes
(Above) The atrium at Takashimaya Square in Ngee Ann City yesterday. Open atrium sales are not allowed under stricter rules.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ONG WEE JIN

Just before midnight yesterday, the music stopped and the lights went out at entertainment venues across Singapore.

From 11.59pm yesterday, bar and nightclub owners were shutting their doors for more than a month, while public venues such as shopping malls were restricting crowds, as Singapore's fight against Covid-19 enters a new phase amid a wave of imported cases.

Bars, cinemas and other entertainment venues including nightclubs, theatres, karaoke outlets and arcades have to close until April 30 as part of the stricter safe distancing measures announced by the Government on Tuesday to reduce the risk of local transmission of the coronavirus.

Shopping malls and standalone stores, where contact is more transient, must limit the number of shoppers on their premises and disperse groups of more than 10 people, the authorities said yesterday.

Operators of malls and standalone stores such as Ikea and Courts Megastore must reduce operating capacity to avoid having more than one person per 16 sq m of usable space - roughly the size of a Housing Board flat bedroom - to minimise overcrowding, especially during peak periods.

Enterprise Singapore, HDB, Singapore Tourism Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority issued a joint statement with a list of measures operators must adhere to.

The new rules would require mall operators to allow tenants to mark queue spots outside their units, spacing shoppers at least 1m from one another.

Tenants should also be allowed to extend temporary seating or queues beyond their premises to spread out the crowd where space permits, provided that fire escape routes and pedestrians are not obstructed. Infant and children's play areas or playgrounds, both indoors and outdoors, must be closed.

No events, open atrium sales, busking and live music performances which are likely to cause shoppers to congregate are allowed.

The authorities have also issued two other joint advisories for food and beverage and retail establishments. Penalties under the Infectious Diseases Act for non-compliance include a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

To comply with the new rules, Sentosa said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that it will temporarily suspend a number of operations, including guided tours and the Wings of Time light show, while F&B establishments such as the Bikini Bar will be closed.

 
 

Marina Bay Sands said it will limit casino access only to Sands Rewards Club members holding gold status or higher, and existing annual levy holders.

At Boat Quay, Mr Logan Adiaya, owner of Club Bagawan, worries if he can weather the next few weeks.

"I am just hoping that we will have enough to pay our workers and maybe take this period as a break, whether we like it or not," the 56-year-old said.

Since the announcement, he has had to scramble to prepare for the closure. "I wished they had given us more time to prepare, or let us open through this weekend so we can at least recoup some losses first."

Skinny's Lounge manager Mykel Halim, 29, was saddened to hear of the curbs.


Staff of Piedra Negra (a bar and restaurant) keeping the outdoor tables and chairs along Haji Lane, as they plan to close by 11.30pm, ahead of the stipulated 11.59pm, on March 26, 2020. ST Photo: KEVIN LIM

When The Straits Times visited the bar at Boat Quay around 10pm yesterday, just two of its 15 tables were filled, which Ms Mykel said was unusual for Thursday nights.

"We will be taking our last order at 10.30pm. The police came by yesterday to tell us to make sure our doors were shut by 11.59pm."

 
 

Her boss told the staff they would be paid for the month ahead.

Mr Samuel Ng, 30, who works in sales and was at a bar in Boat Quay, said the measures were necessary.

He added: "We won't be staying late. It is just the usual drinks after work with friends."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 'Last orders'. Print Edition | Subscribe